Marc Hoskins Enters the Precinct 1 Race
Consultant joins Dem primary for Commissioners Court
By Michael King,
9:30AM, Fri. Jan. 15, 2016
For those of you counting on your fingers, there’s now officially a handful in the race for the Democratic nominee to Travis County Commissioners Court, Precinct 1.
At the December filing deadline, political consultant Marc Hoskins filed for the office, joining as a candidate Richard Franklin III, James Nortey, Arthur Sampson, and Jeff Travillion – all four of whom have been campaigning for months to succeed retiring Commissioner Ron Davis in the Northeast Travis seat. Hoskins is about to launch a campaign web site, and says his formal kickoff for the March 1 primary election will take place soon. (Early voting begins February 16.)
Hoskins acknowledges he’s getting a late start, but says most voters are only now beginning to take an interest in the primary races and he believes he can still mount a successful campaign. “I like to see as many candidates who want to run to get out there and run.” He believes his political credentials distinguish him from his competitors. Son and grandson of civil rights activists, Hoskins was born and raised in Galveston, but has lived in Austin since 2007. He’s worked primarily as a legislative lobbyist for 10 years – “on alcohol-related issues, the interests of Galveston County, medical clients, a wide range of things” – and he believes his wide experience distinguishes him from his opponents. “I think my background is a little different from everyone else’s.” He has a masters degree in political campaign management, and he’s overseen his small lobbying firm, Hoskins and Associates, for several years. In addition this lobbying work, he has served as a staff member to state Sen. José Menendez (D-San Antonio). “I’m a business owner, and I understand some of the issues from that perspective, and I also understand the needs of residents who depend on county services.”
Hoskins said the four primary platform issues will be affordability, transportation, economic development, and “re-entry” – that is, the ability of ex-offenders to re-enter the broader community as productive citizens. That issue is of particular importance to Hoskins, for personal reasons – his previous service as an elected public official, on the Galveston City Council, ended after six months when the district attorney challenged his eligibility to serve because of a previous felony conviction. As a university student in 1999, Hoskins was arrested and later pled guilty to a “conspiracy with intent to sell” drug charge, and served six months in federal prison. He had not hidden this history in his Galveston campaign, yet still won election easily. A state district judge subsequently ruled him ineligible to serve, and Hoskins’ appeal of the ruling was rejected. Hoskins continues to believe that ruling was made in error.
Asked if he’s concerned that the same issue would cloud his eligibility in the commissioner’s race, Hoskins said that he’s received legal advice that he is indeed eligible, and that in any case it would be a matter to resolve following the primary. He added that he intends to submit the matter “to the court of public opinion.” In light of recent public campaigns to “Ban the Box” (indicating criminal histories) on job applications and similar re-entry initiatives, he believes that voters will judge him on his abilities and experience, not on his past offense. “My story resonates with a lot of people,” he concluded, “including many people in Precinct 1.”
Since the four other candidates have been campaigning for some time, it would seem Hoskins has a quick uphill climb before early voting begins in February. “Historically, the Precinct 1 commissioner is an African-American seat, and especially minority voters are just getting engaged in the early voting process and learning about the candidates,” Hoskins said. “I believe I have good opportunity to earn their support.”